Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


****Otherwise Engaged

by Eileen Goudge

Reviewed April 22, 2005.
Pocket Books, New York, 2005.  323 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (MCN F GOU).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#8, Light-hearted Fiction)

What woman, approaching her forties, doesn’t stop and speculate every now and then as to what would have happened if she had made different choices, back when she was starting out?

Jessie Holland, a New York City writer, isn’t sure her boyfriend is ever going to want to get married.  Maybe it’s her fate for leaving her high school sweetheart a few days before they were planning to get married.  She calls the person she can rely on, her best friend Erin, back home in Arizona.  She thinks of Erin as someone with the perfect marriage.  Then Erin answers the phone in tears.  Her husband has just left her.

Through a serendipitous chain of events, Jessie and Erin end up changing places.  Erin needs some time away, so she goes to New York, where she once dreamed of being a chef in a restaurant.  Jessie takes charge of Erin’s Bed and Breakfast while she’s away, and looks after Erin’s teenage daughter.  She gets a chance to think about what life would have been like if she had stayed out in the country.  Meanwhile, the two women write up their experiences and thoughts for Jessie’s magazine.

I confess—I wasn’t in the mood for another book about a divorce, so I peeked to make sure that Erin and her husband get back together before I even brought the book home.  It’s not a rosy, now-everything’s-nice scenario, but they faced some problems, made some changes, and are working on their marriage.  Meanwhile, Jessie finds love where she didn’t expect it.  Can she make that work?

This is a heart-warming novel that entertains as well as making you think about the choices of life.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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